Five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and 2003 NFC champion with the Carolina Panthers Steve Smith Sr. came to the defense of the San Francisco 49ers quarterback on his podcast “Cut To It” on Wednesday, January 25. Not only did the NFL Network analyst gave “Mr. Irrelevant” praise for his play after falling to the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, but Smith ripped NFL scouts for passing on the rookie…even using words like “scared,” “lazy” and “awful” to describe how scouts evaluated the former Iowa State quarterback.
“Brock Purdy has shown us he can play in this league. But yet, we’ve got other first round draft picks who’ve shown us they can’t play in this league, but get opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. Has [New York Jets quarterback and 2021 second round pick] Zach Wilson shown us in two years what Brock Purdy has shown us in seven games? The last pick! How did that happen?! You know how it happened? Scouts are scared,” Smith said.
Smith Rips Scouts Evaluation of Purdy
Smith dove further — ripping the pre-draft process of scouts when they began looking at the undefeated 49ers starter and how they believed someone was rated higher than Purdy.
“He’s not the right height, he’s not the right size, he’s not at the right school. He’s a third round pick but you’ve got a tall kid who can’t hit the wall of a barn. First round draft picks over and over and over again — that cannot play football in the National Football League — who get opportunities after opportunity after opportunity,” Smith explained.
The eight-time 1,000-yard wideout then blasted critics who keep believing Purdy’s “draft status” as someone who fell to the last round will finally reveal itself. Smith, though, described the work ethic of the talent evaluators.
“We keep saying we’re waiting for Brock Purdy’s draft status to show up. His draft status is he was the last one. You know why? Because scouts are lazy,” Smith quipped. “And they look at schools, and they say this, and they say that. And they discount people based on some ancillary, dumb — I don’t even know how they evaluate, but they do. And it’s awful.”
Smith Predicts Outcome of NFC Championship Game
Smith knows all about winning in Philadelphia with the conference title on the line. His Panthers went into the Eagles’ house and snatched the NFC crown in Philly back on January 18, 2004.
But who does “Smitty” believe comes out of Lincoln Financial Field for this latest installment of the NFC title game?
“I believe the San Francisco 49ers is going to beat the Philadelphia Eagles,” Smith predicted. He added that he sees the 49ers facing the Cincinnati Bengals for the Super Bowl — which would mark the third meeting between the two teams and tie the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl matchups. Smith’s reason for selecting the 49ers as his NFC representative in Glendale, Arizona?
“When I look at the 49ers’ defense, and I look at the Eagles’ offense…I personally think they (the Eagles) are going to have to rely on the passing game and I just think Jalen Hurts is not going to have these long developing plays that the Philadelphia Eagles like to do. The Philadelphia Eagles don’t necessarily like to take what the defense gives them. They like to push the envelope offensively and I think that’s going to bite them in the butt.”
Smith also added how he’s concerned for what he called a “hit or miss” Eagles secondary that will soon face Purdy and the 49ers offense.